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Trifecta of new World Rally Cars Announced at 2010 Paris Motor show

At major motor show’s such as Paris, it is unusual for automotive manufactures to announce new race cars let alone 3 brand new Rally Cars.

At the Paris show last week Ford, Citroen and Mini all announced new challengers for the 2011 World Rally Championship








The Ford and Citroen versions are replacements for the current WRC models, but the new Mini WRC is the companies first Rally car since it last entered the championship in the 1960’s.

Should make the 2011 championship a very interesting one to watch

Full Releases and more images below






Paris. Visitors to the 2010 Mondial de l’Automobile in Paris (FR) can look

forward to a special treat: The new MINI WRC, which will contest the FIA World

Rally Championship from 2011, will receive its world premiere at this

international motor show. In addition, Kris Meeke (GB) has been confirmed as

one of the drivers who will contest the championship with this brand new rally


The MINI WRC, powered by a 1.6-litre, four-cylinder Di turbo-charged engine,

recently received a baptism of fire, acquitting itself well during initial testing at

Prodrive’s rally track. The company commenced development of the car in

2009, and a concept of the MINI WRC will be displayed in Paris.

“The Paris Motor Show is the perfect stage, on which to launch our MINI WRC,”

says Ian Robertson, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG,

responsible for Sales and Marketing. “The response to our announcement that

MINI will return to the world of rallying next year was very positive. The FIA World

Rally Championship is the pinnacle of rallying, making it the ideal platform for

demonstrating the competitive spirit of our brand. The development of the car is

running on schedule, and the preparations for the world championship are in full

swing. The MINI Countryman production model provided the ideal basis for our

new world championship challenger.”

The 2011 World Rally Championship will see the new MINI WRC contesting in

six of 13 scheduled rounds, with MINI competing in the full 2012 season. In

addition, Prodrive plans to make available customer versions to independent

teams for use in the championship.

Rallying is hardly unchartered territory for MINI. In the past this popular motor

sporting genre decisively shaped the image of the brand. The MINI Cooper S

became a true legend through its numerous victories on Rally Monte Carlo. The

European Rally Championship, too, saw MINI notch up serial successes.

“MINI can look back on a successful tradition in rallying,” says Dr Wolfgang

Armbrecht, Senior Vice President Brand Management MINI. “The interest in

motorsport among the present generation of MINI customers is massive. The

WRC provides an excellent communications platform for the MINI Countryman,

upon which the MINI WRC is based.”

Prodrive, an experienced motorsport operation, was chosen as the partner in the

quest to continue MINI’s success story. The company, founded by David

Richards, is viewed as one of the most respected and successful in rallying.

“This project is a truly passionate opportunity,” believes Richards. “MINI is a cult

brand which left a lasting impression during its previous motorsport campaigns.

We are both extremely happy and proud to be on board as a partner when MINI

returns to rallying. We aim to use 2011 as a preparatory year, amassing

experience in order to ensure we are fully competitive from the start of the

following season. But let’s not underestimate the task ahead of us nor the stiff

competition we will face on the way, however our target is firmly set on winning

the World Championship title again with MINI.”

Prodrive was founded in 1984, and has established itself as one of motorsport’s

leading independent teams. Currently employing over 500 staff, the company is

based in Banbury (GB). Among other successes, Prodrive has to date won six

World Rally Championships, five British Touring Car titles, and scored three class

victories in France’s classic Le Mans 24 Hours.

Kris Meeke has been confirmed as the first driver to compete for Prodrive in the

MINI WRC. The rally ace from Dungannon (GB) first came to prominence when

he won the British Junior Rally Championship in 2002. Numerous victories and

titles were to follow. With support from his long-term mentor and former rally

world champion, the late Colin McRae (GB), Meeke has been able to

successfully establish himself on the rally scene. The Northern Irishman

celebrated his most recent success last year, when he won the Intercontinental

Rally Challenge (IRC).

The MINI Countryman is the youngest MINI model and also the first to be

equipped with an all-wheel-drive system. Therefore this model provided the

logical basis for a competitive rally derivative. The flagship MINI Cooper S

Countryman is powered by a 1,6-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine, supplemented

not only by a twin-scroll turbocharger and direct fuel injection, but also fully

variable valve management – so offering by far the best relationship between

engine power and fuel consumption in its class. The engine produces an

impressive 135 kW / 184 bhp, and accelerates the MINI Cooper S Countryman

from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.6 seconds.

As part of the MINIMALISM concept, a range of fuel- and emission-reducing

features are fitted as standard and/or in appropriate combinations, including

Brake Energy Regeneration, the Auto Start/Stop function, Shift Point Display and

the need-based operation of ancillary components.

All MINI Cooper S Countryman and MINI Cooper D Countryman are optionally

available with permanent MINI ALL4 all-wheel drive, with an electro-hydraulic

differential positioned directly on the final drive varying the distribution from front

to rear in an infinite process. Under normal driving conditions up to 50 per cent

of the engine’s power goes to the rear wheels; under extreme conditions up to

100 per cent, offering a new, high-traction rendition of the agile handling so

typical of MINI.

The heart of the MINI WRC is the BMW Motorsport-developed 1.6 litre, fourcylinder

Di turbo-charged engine which can be deployed not only in the WRC,

but also in other championships running to the FIA’s Super2000 regulations.

The power transmission takes place via an Xtrac 6-speed, sequential gearbox.

For its outings on the rally stages, the MINI Countryman chassis has been fitted

with a roll cage developed by Prodrive, which exceeds the strict safety










Ford’s new challenger for the 2011 FIA World Rally Championship, the all-new Fiesta RS World Rally Car, made its first global public appearance at the Paris Motor Show today.

The Fiesta RS WRC will make its competition debut in Rally Sweden, the opening round of the 2011 FIA World Rally Championship, on 10 – 13 February.

For Paris, the preview model has been finished in a striking blue and grey livery, specially developed for the show by Ford of Europe’s design team.  The new World Rally Car, derived from the best-selling Fiesta road car, is being developed by Ford of Europe and its rally partner M-Sport.

Using as a base the Ford Fiesta S2000 rally car, which won the legendary Monte Carlo Rally on its debut last January and other international and national rallies in 2010, Ford of Europe’s design team and M-Sport have worked together to fine-tune the styling of the bodywork and aerodynamic package of the new Fiesta to create an exciting replacement for the outgoing Focus RS WRC.

Although detailed changes may be made as the Fiesta RS WRC car continues its development programme through the balance of this year and in time for the commencement of the team’s specialised pre-season testing, the final car will share the eye-catching appearance and acclaimed ‘kinetic design’ styling cues synonymous with Ford’s latest road vehicles. The interior will also be instantly recognisable as a Fiesta RS WRC rally car as it contains a number of production parts.

A new era for the World Rally Championship

The Fiesta RS WRC competition car will form part of a new era for the world championship. The Fiesta rally car will boast four-wheel drive transmission and a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine, based on the all-new Ford EcoBoost engine family, to comply with new regulations.

The new Ford EcoBoost engine family features direct petrol injection and turbocharging to maximise performance and efficiency.  “The introduction of Ford’s latest engine technology to its rally programme reinforces further our commitment to motorsport.  It also demonstrates our continued support for affordable competition by using an off-the-shelf production engine on which to base our WRC power plant,” said Mike Norton, Ford of Europe’s Motorsport Manager.

Specialist engineers from Ford and M-Sport have co-operated closely in the development of this 1.6-litre engine, with highly-respected French tuner Pipo Moteur bringing additional expertise to the power plant.

The Fiesta RS WRC appearance at the Paris Motor Show precedes the car’s first major test programme with the full 2011 engine specification on gravel roads in Spain next week.  The car has already completed almost 3000 kilometres of testing in Britain and France, powered initially by the current WRC engine and more recently by a prototype 1.6-litre Ford EcoBoost turbo unit.

The test will provide the first opportunity for BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team drivers Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen and team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila to drive the new Fiesta RS WRC.

Gerard Quinn, Ford of Europe’s Motorsport chief, has overseen the Ford development programme throughout 2010 and says: “We’re delighted to preview the Ford Fiesta RS WRC in such a prominent Motor Show as Paris. There are significant visual differences from the Fiesta S2000 base car as well as major changes under the skin.  The biggest, of course, is the 1.6-litre Ford EcoBoost turbo engine – the original version of which was developed by Ford’s Powertrain Engineering team.”

M-Sport managing director and BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team director Malcolm Wilson is equally enthusiastic about the new car.

“This is a thrilling time for everyone involved in the car’s development”, Wilson affirms.  “Countless hours have gone into the Fiesta RS WRC to reach this point, and for the car to be unveiled in public for the first time is a proud moment for us.  We are right on track with our development and the team is delighted with testing to date.  Another major step forward will be taken at the start of October when the car tests in full 2011 technical specification for the first time.

“We will have a test car running under the guidance of our technical director, Christian Loriaux.  Mikko and Jari-Matti lead our challenge with the new car in the 2011 WRC, so their feedback from the testing is critical, and will provide valuable data for our engineering team to work with,” added Wilson.

The Fiesta RS WRC will replace the record-breaking Focus RS WRC as Ford’s championship challenger.  The Focus RS WRC won back-to-back manufacturers’ world titles in 2006 and 2007, and its victory in New Zealand in May was the Blue Oval’s 75th at WRC level, making Ford the most successful manufacturer in world championship history.

Ford has sold more than one million of the hugely-successful, latest generation Fiesta road cars around the world since it went on sale in October 2008.  Fiesta, Ford’s truly global car, is the No 2 best-selling car across Europe.

Also, the latest Fiesta has already proved its abilities in motorsport.  The Fiesta SportTrophy International for Fiesta R2 cars is a successful support series to the FIA World Rally Championship and the Fiesta S2000 rally car currently leads the S-WRC support series within the WRC.

American sports icon Ken Block has campaigned a Fiesta rally car in the Rally America championship this season, and the car won gold and silver medals in both the Rally Car and Super Rally events at the X Games event in Los Angeles in July.

“The Ford Fiesta has already established itself as a serious contender in a range of global motorsport activities, and we can’t wait to debut our official car in the hugely demanding World Rally Championship next year,” said Gerard Quinn.

“We’ve worked hard to ensure the car is undoubtedly related to the best-selling Fiesta road car which itself is a global success story. Ford’s design and product development teams have worked closely and efficiently with our partners at M-Sport whose enormous expertise is key to delivering not just a highly competitive rally car, but also a car that is both stylish and recognisably a Ford Fiesta,” he added.

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Citroën is unleashing an all-new contender for the 2011 World Rally Championship – the Citroën DS3 WRC. The hotly anticipated replacement for the multi-championship winning C4 WRC will make its global public debut at the 2010 Paris Motor Show.

Aggressive, dynamic and packed with ‘Créative Technologie’, the DS3 WRC represents the efforts of Citroën Racing to push performance to the limit during its development, whilst complying with the new FIA regulations.  After five WRC manufacturer’s and six consecutive driver’s titles for Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena, Citroën is out to extend its run of success with the DS3 WRC.

More compact than its predecessor, the Citroën DS3 WRC boasts the same powerful lines as the production DS3, although they are emphasised by the cooling vents and aerodynamic parts designed to improve road holding at high speeds.  Under the bonnet, the 300hp 1.6-litre direct-injection turbocharged engine was conceived from start to finish by Citroën Racing.  The four-wheel-drive transmission incorporates a six-gear sequential gearbox and front and rear mechanical differentials.

DS3 WRC is designed to limit the budgets required to compete in the WRC.  The new FIA rules ban costly materials such as titanium and carbon-fibre, and standardise certain parts like the turbocharger and limit the changes that can be made to the vehicle during its lifetime.  Rally nevertheless remains a great testing ground for driving new advances in vehicle technology.

The icy stages of Rally Sweden in February 2011 are expected to give the model its first taste of competitive action.  Two teams – Sébastien Loeb / Daniel Elena and Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia – have already been confirmed for the 2011 World Rally Championship.


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